Fried Green Tomato-Topped Veggie Burgers (Inspired by Sallie Ford)

THE DISH
Hearty veggie burgers topped with fried green tomatoes (recipe here)

THE INSPIRATION
A couple weeks ago my lovely friend Jill took me to see Jolie Holland at Bowery Ballroom, and she said we needed to get there early to see Sallie Ford and the Sound Outside. Holy whoa was she awesome, and I listened to Ford’s music nonstop for the rest of the week. Of course, the song that really made my ears perk up was a new one called “Fried Green Tomatoes,” which isn’t on her album but was recorded for her Daytrotter session last month (download “Fried Green Tomatoes” and three other tracks there!).

Ford’s voice — a brassy, spastic alto wail — falls somewhere between Etta James and Amy Winehouse. Her LP is called Dirty Radio, and she sings about the fake music being made today. It’s no wonder that most of her record — folk, blues, jazz, rock — sounds like it could’ve been recorded decades ago. The dish I made is also inspired by one of my favorite Brooklyn restaurants, Lodge in Williamsburg, whose rustic interior of tree-stump stools and the adjacent “General Store” also looks like it came from another time. My favorite dish there is the egg sandwich, with a fried egg, pesto, tempeh bacon and a fried tomato. Sallie Ford’s music is hearty, and instead of an egg I made a high-protein veggie burger topped with a fried green tomato; instead of the pesto and bacon I just finished it with normal burger fixins, and it was perfect.


THE RECIPE
Makes 12-14 three-inch burgers; recipe adapted from Ezra Pound Cake

I’ve made a few types of veggie patties, but these are the best I’ve tried yet that I would actually call veggie burgers. A few of them got a little bit crumbly, but for the most part the texture was great and they stayed together. I made these for our 4th of July cookout, but everyone wanted the real meat — so I had plenty left over for lunches, and learned that these freeze great, too.

Burgers

Ingredients:

Olive oil
1/2 c diced onion
1/3 c diced bell pepper
1/4 c diced black olives
4 1/2 tbsp diced garlic
3 tsp jalapeno

4 c oats
6 tbsp breadcrumbs
3 tbsp fresh basil, chopped
3 tsp oregano
1 1/2 tsp paprika
1 1/2 tsp chili powder
1 1/2 chili flakes
1 1/2 tsp cumin

1 15-oz. can black beans
1 15-oz. can chickpeas
1 15-oz. can white beans
4 eggs

Directions:

• Heat a thin layer of oil in over medium heat. Add onion, bell pepper, olives, jalapeno and garlic and saute until translucent (about 5 minutes). Remove from heat and cool.

• In a medium bowl, combine oats and breadcrumbs with all spices. Set aside.

• In a large bowl, combine the beans (mashing them is optional, but I liked the texture with some of them mashed). Add the vegetables and mix. Stir in the dry ingredients, along with the eggs.

• Use your hands to thoroughly mix the ingredients (this also helps to smash the beans). Form into three-inch patties. I just realized the original recipe says to let sit in the fridge for 30 minutes and we definitely didn’t do that!

• Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a saute pan, and cook patties, about two or three minutes on each side, or until lightly browned. Add more oil as needed.

Fried green tomatoes

Ingredients:
2 large green tomatoes
About 3/4 c breadcrumbs
2 eggs
Oil

Directions:

• Slice tomatoes into 1/4-inch slices.

• Scramble eggs in a bowl.

• Dip each tomato slice in egg, then dredge in breadcrumbs.

• Fry in oil over medium heat.

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